What Is a MUX Switch in a Gaming Laptop?

What Is a MUX Switch in a Gaming Laptop?

You're likely to have come across a "MUX switch in the last few years." Gaming laptops have excellent performance. They have a dedicated graphics card, big cooling fans, and a monitor with a high refresh rate. However, this comes at the cost of short battery life. AMD Switchable Graphics and  NVIDIA Optimus are no longer enough because gamers always ask for more. So, the MUX Switch came to be. Below are details:

  • What is a MUX Switch in a Gaming Laptop

  • Why it's important?

What is a MUX Switch in a Gaming Laptop

A MUX switch is a switch on a gaming laptop. It directly connects the dedicated graphics card to the display. That gives users better graphics performance. Users will need to use the manufacturer's software to turn on the MUX switch. Even though the MUX switch is turned on by software, it works on a physical level where data is sent directly to the display monitor. 

Why It's Important?

It's important because of some reasons below:

The Integrated GPU Bottleneck

The integrated GPU (iGPU) is one of the two graphics processors on most modern gaming laptops. The other is a discrete GPU. The iGPU is part of the CPU. The dGPU is a separate graphics chip that is more powerful than the iGPU but takes up more power.

GPU

Consequently, the gaming laptops switch between the iGPU and the dGPU on the fly. It helps balance battery life and graphics performance. That is why they do this. Switchable Graphics is used on laptops with AMD GPUs and Optimus to switch between the two graphics cards.

Optimus and its AMD counterpart ensure that people get the best of both the dGPU performance and battery life. But they aren't perfect. It doesn't matter what kind of task you're doing when the dGPU is used. The dGPU renders content that goes through the GPU. In this method, the iGPU can become a bottleneck. It can slow down performance and delay it by a lot. 

The gaming laptop manufacturers have developed the MUX switch. It helps solve the iGPU bottleneck. It is a multiplexer switch.

mux-switch

Bypassing The iGPU

Consumers can use the MUX switch to turn on or off the GPU. That lets them send all of the graphics rendering from the dGPU to the laptop's screen when they need to. It is bad for the laptop's battery life. But it improves performance and reduces latency in games.

The multiplexer switch is a microchip on the laptop's motherboard. It physically changes the connection between the dGPU and the screen. And it comes with software that lets people talk to the chip. Unfortunately, you can't buy new hardware for your laptop to have a MUX switch. It needs specific hardware to work, so you can't add it. 

Mux-Switch-Laptops

It must be restarted every time you change the MUX switch to enable or disable the discrete GPU mode. But it's worth it to get less latency and faster frame rates. Asus says skipping the iGPU can lead to a 9 percent boost in frame rates. Some games, like Rainbow Six Siege and Shadow of Tomb Raider, get even more of a boost. 

There are many benefits to having a MUX switch, not just better graphics performance. Your laptop has a dGPU that can support features like NVIDIA G-Sync or higher refresh rates. You can't use Optimus even if the dGPU is powerful enough for them. But, of course, the laptop's screen must also be able to show these features before you can use them with the separate GPU mode. 

Conclusion

Above is the information about a MUX switch in a gaming laptop. Hopefully, after reading, you can better understand the MUX switch. 

5
1 ratings
Paul Syverson
WRITTEN BY
Paul Syverson
Paul Syverson is the founder of Product Reviews. Paul is a computer scientist; he used to carry out a handful of significant studies which contributed to bringing in many special features on the site. He has a huge passion for computers and other tech products. He is always diligent in delivering quality writings to bring the most value to people. Syverson.org |

Advertisement